Norwich extend unbeaten run

Norwich’s Wes Hoolahan celebrated signing a new deal by netting

the winner in a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Wigan at Carrow

Road.

Anthony Pilkington’s powerful strike separated the sides at

half-time, but Shaun Maloney’s superb equaliser brought Wigan back

into the game early in the second period.

However, after great work down the left by Pilkington, the

impressive Hoolahan, who prior to kick-off penned a contract

extension keeping him at Carrow Road until summer 2015, headed the

winner from close range to give the Canaries a deserved three

points.

The win extended the Canaries’ unbeaten run to ten Premier

League games, their longest sequence without defeat in the

top-flight since March 1987.

After a cagey opening, the game sprang into like thanks with

Pilkington’s goal.

Hoolahan, who was fantastic throughout, quickly intercepted the

ball, and laid a pass through for Pilkington, who smashed the ball

past Ali Al Habsi into the roof of the net.

The goal acted as a wake-up call for Wigan, who had started

poorly. Neat interplay between Arouna Kone and James McArthur

resulted in the Scotsman bringing a smart save from Mark Bunn down

to his left.

Al Habsi, who will be disappointed not to have saved the first

goal, again looked shaky, as he could only palm a cross into the

path of Pilkington, who could not convert from close range.

However, the Latics keeper more than made up for his earlier

errors, with a fantastic instinctive save from point-black range to

deny Robert Snodgrass from a Javier Garrido cross.

Two changes at half-time from Roberto Martinez made a huge

difference to Wigan, and it was one of these substitutes – Maloney

– who superbly brought the visitors back into the game early in the

second period.

Kone looked to have run out of options, but calmly found Maloney

on the edge of the 18-yard box and he rifled the ball past a

helpless Bunn.

Wigan could not maintain their pressure, and Grant Holt should

have done better with a volley to put Norwich back in front, before

Hoolahan netted what turned out to be the winner from six yards,

getting on the end of an excellent Pilkington centre.

Pilkington himself could have added to his tally late on,

bringing a one-handed save out of Al Habsi, but Norwich held on for

a deserved victory, and kept their incredible run going.